The Lotus Cortina offered here is one of only two Group 5 works cars that were built by Lotus for the 1966 British Saloon Car Championship. Car number E14 LS was constructed in March 1966, registered PHK 614D, and immediately assigned to Jim Clark for use at Oulton Park on 2nd April, although the meeting was disrupted by poor weather. The next outing was at Snetterton a week later where fellow Formula 1 driver Peter Arundell took the car to a 2nd in class and 5th overall finish in the Archie Scott Brown Memorial Trophy. Over the course of the next month two more 2nd in class results would be achieved at Goodwood and Silverstone with Arundell and Jacky Ickx driving. In May the car was used as a spare car at Crystal Palace and in June the engine was converted to fuel injection by BRM. The first race with the new engine was the Grand Prix support race at Brands Hatch on 16th July where Sir John Whitmore achieved a 1st in class victory and 4th overall finish. The car was back at Brands Hatch in August for the Guards International meeting and on this occasion Peter Arundell placed 3rd overall and 2nd in class. Arundell was the driver for the last two races of the season at Oulton Park and at Brands Hatch where he managed a class win on 30th October. The achievements of Arundell in PHK 614D were enough to secure him 3rd place in the British Saloon Car Championship and Team Lotus finished 1st in the Lombank Entrants Trophy.
The first race of 1967 was to be the last works event for the car but it finished its Team Lotus career on a high with Graham Hill delivering a 1st in class and 2nd overall result in the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch on 12th March. This was not the end of the car’s competition career, however, and by that summer it was back in action for A G Dean Racing Ltd driven by Brian Robinson. On 16th September Robinson finished 2nd in class at Oulton Park in the International Gold cup and bettered this with a class victory on October 22nd in the Guards Motor Show 200 at Brands Hatch. The car was retained by Robinson and Dean for the 1968 season and made eight competitive appearances achieving top-three class finishes in seven of them, and as a result Robinson finished the championship in a very respectable third place.
At the end of the 68 season the car was sold to Peter Parnell, who appears to have driven it in the Bulawayo 3 hour race in Rhodesia, and then to Dave Hannaford who emigrated to Zambia, taking the car with him. The car subsequently moved to South Africa with its next owner, Hannaford's friend and business partner Nevile Halbergh, who kept the car until 1983 when he sold it to Jannie Van Aswegan. It remained in Van Aswegan’s ownership for 14 years when it was purchased by Cedric Selzar, Jim Clark’s race mechanic, and repatriated to the UK where it was sympathetically restored. Purchased by JD Classics directly from Selzar in 2005, the car is today presented in race ready condition and retains its original shell and all the period race modifications to the suspension and the engine. Given its exceptional rarity, competition successes and association with two World Champions it offers a fantastic opportunity to acquire one of the most significant sports touring cars of the 1960s.
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In 1963 one of the great collaborations in British Motor Manufacturing took place when Lotus Cars and Ford of Britain agreed to build a highly developed version of Ford’s latest saloon. The name for the new car was initially termed the “Consul Cortina Developed by Lotus” but quickly became known simply as the “Lotus Cortina”. The partnership suited both parties as Ford were keen to strengthen their reputation with exposure to motorsport and Lotus were keen to replace the expensive Coventry Climax engines used in their cars with a new twin-cam engine based on the Ford Kent design. To meet homologation requirements 1000 cars were required and so production of the new Lotus Cortina commenced in earnest at the Lotus Cheshunt plant with Ford providing the 2 door saloon body shells and Lotus undertaking the necessary mechanical and cosmetic changes.
The key mechanical differences between the Lotus Cortina and its undeveloped cousin included an uprated 1,557 cc, 105 bhp engine, a Lotus Elan close-ratio gearbox and highly modified suspension, which included a thicker anti-roll bar, shorter struts and forged track control arms at the front and coil springs and an A-bracket arrangement at the rear, although these were found to be unreliable and were replaced with leaf springs in 1965. To optimise weight reduction and re-distribution, aluminium alloy was used in the gearbox and differential casings and the battery was relocated to the boot. In some early production cars alloy panels were also used for doors, bonnet and boot although they were later restricted to cars built purely to competition specification. The Lotus Cortina also benefitted from new 9.5 inch servo-assisted Girling front disc brakes and an 8.0 inch diaphragm-spring clutch in contrast to the coil-spring clutches fitted to the standard Cortina range. Interior modifications were limited to a centre console designed to accommodate the new gear lever position, different seats and a modified dashboard. Other exterior changes included the factory colour scheme of white with a green stripe and the fitting of front quarter bumpers and discreet Lotus badges.
All sales and marketing work was left to Ford but the achievements of the cars on the race track soon provided ample public relations material to support Ford’s sales efforts.
The Lotus Cortina’s first competitive outing was in September 1963 in the Gold Cup race at Oulton Park, where the Team Lotus cars finished 3rd and 4th behind two Ford Galaxies and beat the 3.8-litre Jaguars, which had been so dominant in saloon car racing over previous years. Over the course of 1964 and 1965, Lotus Cortinas became a familiar sight at race tracks around the world, often delighting fans with their characteristic three-wheeled cornering, a consequence of soft rear suspension and a hard front end. Notable successes in 1964 included Jim Clark’s British Saloon Car Championship and a class win for a Boreham-built car in the Tour de France. In 1965 the A-bracket rear suspension was replaced with a more conventional leaf spring arrangement, which significantly improved reliability and delivered yet more success for the marque including Sir John Whitmore's European Touring Car Championship and a class win for Jack Sears in the British Saloon Car Championship. 1966 saw the introduction of a number of new FIA racing categories including Group 5 for Special Touring Cars, which permitted many more modifications than those allowed in Group 1 and Group 2 cars. When Group 5 regulations were adopted for the British Saloon Car Championship, Team Lotus accordingly built two new cars to compete in this category, each featuring a new wish bone front suspension, cast magnesium road wheels and, eventually, fuel injected BRM/Cosworth-tuned race engines which could develop 180 bhp at 7750 rpm. This improved handling and power output helped the Cortinas stay competitive with the larger-engined Mustangs and Galaxies and by the end of the 1966 season Team Lotus had won the manufacturer’s title with 8 class wins, many at the hands of the great Jim Clark. In the European Touring Car Challenge, Sir John Whitmore, driving a similar Alan Mann car, scored another four wins, which secured him the runner-up position.
Track: Oulton Park
Driver: Jim Clark
Race: Archie Scott Brown Memorial Trophy
Driver: Peter Arundell
Position: 2nd in Class & 5th Overall
Race: St Marys Trophy Race
Driver: Peter Arundell
Position: 2nd in Class & 5th Overall
Race: International Touring Car Race
Driver: Jacky Ickx
Position: 2nd in Class & 4th Overall
Track: Crystal Palace
Race: International Group 5 Touring Car Race
Driver: Spare car
Track: Brands Hatch, British Grand Prix
Race: Peter England Trophy
Driver: Sir John Whitmore
Position: 1st in Class & 4th Overall
Track: Brands Hatch, Guards International Meeting
Race: Edward Lewis Trophy
Driver: Peter Arundell
Position: 2nd in Class & 3rd Overall
Track: Oulton Park, International Gold Cup
Driver: Peter Arundell
Position: 4th in Class & 6th Overall
Track: Brands Hatch, BARC International Motor Show 200
**NOW SOLD** - Thanks for all your interest....
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